Gold hovers near $2,000 on Middle East risks, focus on Fed

By Ashitha Shivaprasad

(Reuters) – Gold prices hovered near the key psychological $2,000 level on Monday, supported by safe-haven demand amid the Middle East conflict, while market participants looked ahead to this week’s U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting.

“The Middle East conflict is keeping a floor under gold and silver markets. I remain bullish on gold, the conflict will get worse before it gets better, gold can hit all-time high in the near term,” said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco Metals.

Spot gold was down 0.4% at $1,998.47 per ounce by 2:25 p.m. ET (1825 GMT). U.S. gold futures settled 0.4% higher at $2,005.60.

Spot gold prices hit $2,009.29 an ounce on Friday, surpassing the $2,000 level for the first time since mid-May, as investors flocked into safe-haven bullion.

Israeli troops and tanks attacked Gaza’s main northern city from the east and west.

Gold is consolidating and building a base for further gains, subject to geopolitics, said StoneX analyst Rhona O’Connell in a note.

Traders are also keeping an eye on the U.S. central bank’s policy decision due on Wednesday. While the Fed is widely expected to keep interest rates unchanged, the focus will be on Chair Jerome Powell’s commentary.

“If the Fed is going to sound hawkish, then we will see a slightly negative reaction from gold,” Wyckoff said.

Although gold is seen as a hedge against inflation, higher interest rates dull non-yielding bullion’s appeal.

Spot silver was up 0.9% at $23.34.

“Silver solar demand could be clouded by recession in the EU,” Heraeus analysts wrote in a note.

“The silver price normally follows gold’s direction in recessions, though traders usually favour gold when balancing safe-haven gold and more industrial silver in periods of lower growth. As a result, the silver price is expected to underperform gold.”

Platinum jumped 3.1% to $931.96 and palladium gained 0.3% to $1,125.65.

(Reporting by Ashitha Shivaprasad in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter, Shailesh Kuber and Krishna Chandra Eluri)